News tips from the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

February 28, 2010

EASING EGG ALLERGIES WITH EGGS
Oral immunotherapy study at Hopkins Children's shows it works
***** Embargoed for release until 12 noon EST, Sunday, Feb. 28*****

Children with egg allergies who consume increasingly higher doses of egg protein -- the very nutrient they react to -- appear to gradually overcome their allergies, tolerating eggs better over time and with milder symptoms, according to research conducted at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and elsewhere.

The findings from a multi-center trial are to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Feb. 26 through March 2.

Previous research at Hopkins Children's showed that the same approach, known as oral immunotherapy, can be used successfully to treat children with milk allergies. Some of the children in the milk allergy study overcame their condition completely, and many experienced less severe allergic symptoms as a result of the therapy.

Now, researchers are reporting similarly encouraging results in children with egg allergies.

"Just as we saw in our patients with milk allergies before, oral immunotherapy for children with egg allergies works in the same way by slowly retraining the immune system to tolerate the allergens that caused allergic reactions," says study investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children's.

Researchers caution that confirming these early results requires long-term monitoring of the current patients and enrolling more children in the ongoing trials. They also caution that oral immunotherapy should be implemented only by a trained pediatric allergist.

In the 11-month study of 45 children ages 5 to 18, researchers gave 40 patients increasingly higher doses of egg whites during multiple food challenges conducted in a clinic and under a doctor's supervision, while 15 children received placebo, "dummy" food that looks like egg whites but contains no egg protein. All children received higher and higher doses of either placebo or actual egg protein in the course of the 11 months.

At the end of the study, during a final food challenge, more than half of the children who had been consuming eggs (21 out of 40) could tolerate 5 grams of eggs without having an allergic reaction. None of the children who received placebo were able to tolerate eggs during the final food challenge.

When symptoms did occur, investigators say, they were mild to moderate and involved mostly itching and swelling of the mouth and throat.

Children who consumed eggs also had lower blood levels of IgE antibodies -- immune markers that rise during an allergic reaction -- and a significant drop in the levels of egg-specific basophils, a type of while blood cell that multiplies during an allergic reaction.

Food allergies have been steadily rising in the last decade and are becoming harder to outgrow, research shows. An estimated 2 percent to 3 percent of U.S. children have egg allergies.




"MILK DROPS" UNDER THE TONGUE APPEAR TO TREAT MILK ALLERGIES
***** Embargoed for release 12 noon EST, Sunday, Feb. 28.*****

Placing small amounts of milk protein under the tongues of children who are allergic to milk can help them overcome their allergies, according to the findings of a small study at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and Duke University.

The findings will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology .

The approach, known as SLIT (sublingual immune therapy), involves giving children small but increasingly higher doses of the food they are allergic to until their immune systems "learn" to tolerate the food without triggering an allergic reaction or triggering only mild symptoms. Previous research from Hopkins Children's showed that a similar approach known as oral immunotherapy can successfully treat children with milk allergies. Unlike SLIT, oral immunotherapy involves consuming milk protein rather than merely placing it under the tongue.

The current study suggests that both approaches could be effective in treating milk allergies in most patients, authors say, but that oral immunotherapy appears to be slightly more effective than SLIT. The investigators caution that the results are preliminary and that the two approaches must be compared in larger groups before their equal efficacy can be confirmed.

While both approaches work by exposing the patient to progressively higher doses of the allergenic food, SLIT is done with lower doses--and therefore with lower risk for a severe allergic reaction. Researchers caution that both therapies can lead to violent allergic reactions in some patients, and should be always done under a doctor's supervision.

"We are very excited to see that both approaches can achieve significant improvement in children with milk allergies, but we continue to see slightly better tolerance in children on oral immunotherapy," says lead investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children's. "Nonetheless, SLIT emerges as a new, if slightly less powerful, weapon in our arsenal."

In the study, all 30 children ages 6 to 17 were treated with milk drops under the tongue (SLIT) for several weeks until they built up their tolerance. Once minimum tolerance was achieved, the children were divided into two groups. Ten children continued their SLIT treatment while the other 20 consumed milk powder by mouth (OIT). After three months of treatment with increasingly higher doses of milk protein, all children underwent a food challenge, which involved drinking milk under a doctor's supervision.

All children in the "by mouth" group were able to drink on average seven times more milk without an allergic reaction or with mild symptoms compared to their baseline milk challenge before the treatment. Nine of the 10 children treated with milk drops under the tongue, were able to do so.

Children in both groups experienced allergic symptoms equally often during the treatment. In the "under the tongue" group, 33 percent of the 3,619 doses of milk administered caused symptoms, compared to 35 percent of the 3,773 doses in the "by mouth" group. Most symptoms were mild, with the most common ones being mouth and throat itching and irritation. Abdominal and respiratory symptoms occurred very infrequently, the researchers report.
-end-
Related on the Web:

Milk Safe, Even Encouraged, for Some After Treatment for Milk Allergy
http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/Milk-Safe-Even-Encouraged-After-Treatment-For-Milk-Allergy-For_Some.aspx

Drinking Milk to Ease Milk Allergy?
http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/drinking-milk-to-ease-milk-allergy.aspx

Dr. Wood Profile
http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/staffDetail.aspx?id=3152

Johns Hopkins Children's Center
http://www.hopkinschildrens.org

Meet Two Patients
http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/tpl_rlinks_nobanner.aspx?id=6040

http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/multimedia.aspx?id=5438

Founded in 1912 as the children's hospital of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the Johns Hopkins Children's Center offers one of the most comprehensive pediatric medical programs in the country, treating more than 90,000 children each year. Hopkins Children's is consistently ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation. Hopkins Children's is Maryland's largest children's hospital and the only state-designated Trauma Service and Burn Unit for pediatric patients. It has recognized Centers of Excellence in 20 pediatric subspecialties, including allergy, cardiology, transplant, neurology, neurosurgery, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary, nephrology, gastroenterology and oncology. For more information, please visit www.hopkinschildrens.org

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Allergies Articles from Brightsurf:

With or without allergies, outcomes similar for hospitalized patients with COVID-19
A new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting examines hospital data to determine if those with allergic conditions had more severe COVID-related disease than those without.

Links between parents' and children's asthma and allergies
New research published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy found that, compared with a father's traits related to allergies and asthma, a mother's traits create a higher risk that a child will develop these same traits in early childhood.

New insight into allergies could improve diagnosis and treatment
A study led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital point to a potential marker of these conditions and a new therapeutic strategy.

Got seasonal allergies? Beetles could help
Allergies caused by the common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, impact millions, and in Europe alone, around 13.5 million people suffer with symptoms, resulting in 7.4 billion Euros worth of health costs per year, according to the research.

Drinking green tea may help with food allergies
Drinking green tea increases Flavonifractor plautii in the gut, which in turn suppresses an allergic food immune response.

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Search for the source of antibodies would help treat allergies
Researchers of Sechenov University together with their colleagues from Russia and Austria summarised everything known about cells producing group E antibodies.

Changes in onset of spring linked to more allergies across the US
Human-induced climate change is disrupting nature's calendar, including when plants bloom and the spring season starts, and new research from the University of School of Public Health suggests we're increasingly paying the price for it in the form of seasonal allergies.

Prenatal allergies prompt sexual changes in offspring
A single allergic reaction during pregnancy prompts sexual-development changes in the brains of offspring that last a lifetime, new research suggests.

Food allergies: A research update
Families impacted by food allergies will need psychosocial support as they try promising new therapies that enable them to ingest a food allergen daily or wear a patch that administers a controlled dose of that food allergen.

Read More: Allergies News and Allergies Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.